farewell and moving gifts

Melanie over at You Are My Fave did the sweetest thing to honor her grandfather on his big bash for turning 90, she made photo buttons for all to wear. (p.s. Don’t miss her ice cream party in a box idea over at Marta’s today).

And here, a little more personalized button inspiration.

From Cup of Joe.

Available here.

And monogram buttons from Natalie Jost, made especially for her by Emily of Orange Beautiful.

p.s.  more fun buttons available here.

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After reading this post, I am completely in love with the idea of surprising someone sometime with a food truck on a big, important day. What would be your pick, tacos, bbq, cookies, ice cream?

Photo from here.

p.s. more on food trucks here and an entire blog devoted to it here.


Dear Readers, I have a bit of an urgent question for you. Tab is looking for something for a great teacher, and the last day of school is only 11 days away. If you have any ideas, Tab and I need you!

“My youngest son is finishing 3rd grade. He has a male teacher who is wonderful. My children have all been blessed by having this teacher. I have 3 boys. Seeing as this is the last of my children to have him, we were hoping to give him something over-the-top special to remember us by.”

“I want him to remember us, but I don’t want it to be knick knacks, because he’s a bit of a neat freak. He’s in his early 30s. Not married. A wonderful sense of humor. With no real deep interests that he has shared.”

“Money is always an object, but I’d even be willing to go up to $50 if it was something I thought was great. I’d love any help on this.” —Tab

have the local creamery name a custom creation after your favorite teacher

The great thing about honoring a teacher is that it’s easy to get others on board. Get an hour dedicated to him on the radio or get his name on the reader board on the way into town. Maybe have the local pizzeria create a pizza in his honor, and give him a gift card for a few pizzas while you’re there. (I called a male teacher friend last night, and he said that good local food is always appreciated.) Maybe give him a really great pizza cutter while you’re at it, and have it engraved, so it’s kind of like a trophy, but not really.

And if all of that seems to be stretching it, try bargain shopping for a super hip bag. Include a thank you note from each son tucked inside, and you might have just the thing.

What about you readers? Any ideas Tab can use for giving a teacher an memorable thank you? She and I would love to hear them.

[photo from here]


I love ideas for celebrating big. I just added a couple of these ideas to my list of ways to celebrate a landmark birthday, but thought they would also be a great way to send off a beloved teacher.

A giant card where everyone pitches in

A phone call where everyone pitches in

Another fun, really big idea, get murals made here

Have you seen any fun ideas for seeing off a teacher, my creative friends? I’d love to hear.
[phone photo from here]


Get more farewell ideas from my gift inspiration board, or from blog posts here and here.


Make them a beautiful countdown calendar to their big day.

Call friends and family and commission three-minute speeches and serenades.

And while you’re commissioning, get a portrait of them from a talented artist or from a group of loved, less then professionals.

Host an art gallery of their life. Hang pictures on walls, prop them on tables, or wear them. (I had fun browsing this collection of photo pendants. UPDATE: you can have one personalized for just $15.)

Serve from a menu of their life. Do a cookbook.

Get their picture in the paper on on a blog that is awesome.

Run a race together, make it somewhere pretty or for something important.

Get away for a road trip.

Write their name in lights.

Get something signed by someone important.

Host an improptu photo shoot.

Or a paint fight.

Decorate something big.

More ideas to come. Stay tuned.
(images: lemon fluff from here, signed book from here, phone from here)

UPDATE 03.21.10
Here are just a couple more big celebration ideas I love.

A birthday card where everyone pitches in

A birthday call where everyone pitches in


I am so excited to introduce you to my friend, Rachelle. I have secretly been wanting to have her here on GiversLog since I began blogging. Because she is good. She is the type that comes up with the perfect thoughtful thing to do for every occasion, and then does it. (And we saw her husband, Tyler, holds his own too.) She also happens to be an amazing photographer. So of course that means the coolest, most meaningful photo gifts for friends and family. I asked if she’d stop by today and share a few gifts she’s given, and lucky for us, she said yes. And so, without further ado, I’ll turn you over to the lovely and talented Rachelle.

I love the beginning of the year.  I always take the time to reflect a little more.  I like the calm that comes after December, and the biggest gift-giving season, Christmas.  I take the time to wonder, were my gifts what I wanted them to be?  Was I as prepared as I wanted?  Did I stay in budget?  Were my gifts meaningful?

A friend recently shared with me a break-down of different types of gifts: a gift of something needed, a gift of something wanted, and a gift to treasure.  This was helpful.  I realized that mostly the kind of gifts I want to give are memorable, meaningful, and gifts to treasure.  I also realize that even more than money, these gifts usually take time!  I have given a few of these gifts in recent years and recognize their value to me and to the receiver.

I love photography and I love combining this with giving.  I have done some of this, but one of my resolutions this year is to better plan for it. I want to better capture the moments with my camera that will help make my gifts meaningful and ones to treasure.  There are dozens of fun gifts you can put together using your photos, and we’ll get to those. But first, let’s start with photo albums…oh what fun! You have so many options when it comes to these.

1. One year I gave my dear friend on her 30th birthday a book of “Thirty reasons why” she was loved.  I had secretly gathered this information and photos for several weeks before hand and the finished project, like all of these type, was a treasured gift.  I loved seeing the sincere qualities her children came up with and the fun things her siblings shared.  I loved being a part of sharing her parents and husband’s love for her, in addition to my own.

2. I also did a photo book for a dear friend who was moving with our favorite memories with their family.  I am not sure who cried more, me putting it together and remembering the special times we had or her receiving it.

3. This last year for Mother’s Day I made my mom a book entitled, “Lessons we learned from our mom”.  Getting input from all four of my younger siblings, I came to better appreciate my mother and all that she had taught us growing up.  I could see ways she had helped to shape influence us all for good.

4. For my twins’ preschool teachers, I interviewed each of the preschool kids and took their photograph.  The book had the child’s photo, what they liked best about preschool and why they love their teacher.  I printed the pages on 5×5 prints and “mod podged” them to a board book.  It was a huge hit!

5. The last one I will share was an idea I had this year for my husband. He is a content man with few wants or needs.  He isn’t high maintenance and coming up with gift ideas is always a challenge.  So last year, 2008 I struggled and in the end wasn’t really thrilled with the gifts I came up with.  They definitely qualified as meeting needs and wants, but I LOVE to give a gift that the receiver will treasure!  In my quest to do better this year I began in January writing down one thing every day that I love or appreciate about him.  This project began by being for him, but as the year progressed it became such a labor of love for me.  It was such a rewarding experience to be “on the look-out” for the greatness EVERY day.

Have you made any albums as gifts? I’d love to hear about it. Plus I have a few photo gifts up my sleeve for tomorrow and am excited to share.


toys for keeping kids busy on car tripsideas for pipe cleaner creatures available from Martha

I am always on the lookout for new ways to keep kids busy in the car. I always need tricks for my own kids, but in the past we’ve also put together travel kits for friends moving out of state and for guests driving home after a stay at our house. Stickers and beads and pipe cleaners can go a long way. One of my kids’ favorite treats on road trips is a bag full of plastic eggs. I put a different piece of candy in each for them to discover every half hour. (Or my arbitrary decision of when a half hour is. Now that my 6-year-old is reading time, I have to be a little more regimented with it.) Any brilliant ideas that have worked for you?

Here are a few other fun travel toys I’ve come across.
travel games and activities for kids1. My kids LOVE this game
2. Car valet
3. Wonder bubbles
4. Foil. Yup, you heard me right, plain aluminum foil. If this has worked for you I’d love to know.
5. 3-D geo puzzle
6. Triangle solitaire and a million other great games from here
7. Pass the pig
8. Magna trix
9. 52 Fun Things to Do in the Car
10. Your own blank comic book
11. Hidden color paper
12. Travel cathedral game (I’m intrigued by this one.)


If you’re new here, welcome! I’m AmberLee, and Giverslog is my place to collect gift ideas and pretty wrapping ideas from talented friends and bloggers.

I hope the ideas in this post help with what you’re looking for. You can also find dozens more of my favorite farewell gift ideas here, in the farwell section of my gift guide page.

farewell gifts for boss or a coworkerRose petals scattered across a windshield for a fond farewell

I ran across this list of ways to say goodbye to a boss or coworker. It’s kinda nice.
Give them something to remember the company by
Give them something to remember the workplace by
Give them something they can put to use at their next job
Give them something to mark their contribution

And, of course, I have to embellish with a few suggestions of my own.
farewell gifts for boss or coworkerrow 1:
The good luck garden,
Pencil sharpener from here, made from a solid block of aluminium
row 2:
Your own mini documentary of the office, complete with interviews of coworkers saying goodbye (do you like the print? I found it here). You can also take photos of everyone at the beginning of the party, and send a willing participant to sneak off and have them developed and slid in to a nice album to give a very surprised recipient by the end of the party.
One very perfect letter opener (easy to engrave)
row 3:
A place to jot all their new plans
Pens from Cursive New York for jotting them with
row 4:
A reminder of how long they’ve been around
or of where they’ve been and where they’re going (via here)
row 5:
A subscription to the Card Society (found here), to give them a fond reminder once a month

best-homemade-food-christmas-gifts-coworkers1UPDATE: I love these custom cookies, made to order to look like the face of the guest of honor. Get a several of these made and say something witty like, “we’re really going to miss seeing your face around here.”

UPDATE: Also love these personalized wall murals. They’re so affordable.


san francisco with kidsone of our early adventures to San Francisco

travel guide for kids2

I just added this to my Amazon cart: the San Fransisco City Walks with Kids. It’s a set of cards, each with a walk to take the kids on in the city. I would have loved to have this as soon as we moved to northern Cal. Though not having it hasn’t stopped me and the kids from some great day trips (my kids call them “adventures”) to the city.
Available for San Francisco, New York, D.C., Paris, and London.

city guides for traveling with kids2I’m a fan of Fodor’s, and had to share these as well, their guides for travel with kids. Available for
D.C., Paris, New York, San Francisco, Boston, London, Chicago, L.A., Denver, Montreal, San Diego, Seattle, and many more.

paris moleskine city guide
And, of course, if you know someone moving near a metropolis, any matropolis, in the entire world, don’t forget about the beautiful Moleskine city guides. Just looking at the list of guides available makes me want to get on a jet and go. Madrid! Milano! Torino!

California and Northeast landscape book
And one final pick that makes a great gift for someone moving, especially to a new planting zone. (My SIL gave me one of these and made me very happy. Now she just checks in on occasion and trims a rosebush for me or reminds me to water.)
Available for California, the Southeast, the Northeast, Texas, the Midwest, and the Mid-Atlantic.

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If you’re new here, welcome! I’m AmberLee, and Giverslog is my place to collect gift ideas and pretty wrapping ideas from talented friends and bloggers.

I hope the ideas in this post help with what you’re looking for. You can also find dozens more of my favorite farewell gift ideas here, in the farwell section of my gift guide page.

moving away day gift breakfast

It’s one of the only down sides of summer, friends moving away to get settled in their new home before the business of the new school year. Kinda hard, but here are a few farewell ideas to make the day as nice as possible.

I love that Design Mom’s neighbors organized a moving day breakfast when she moved from New York recently. Really nice not to have to worry about what to feed your children when your kitchen is packed away. (Get the pictured bagel recipe here.) Plus, while your neighborhood is at the breakfast, you can put everyone to work on the next gift…
farewell gifts for moving awayrow 1:
-Love this idea: get “an empty notebook, put a friend’s picture on each page, and asked them to write/draw/staple/do whatever they wanted to their page.”
-Something yummy that is hard to get anywhere else. In my little town that would be anything with satsuma mandarin oranges, like this marmelade.
row 2:
-Gift certificate for a personalized address stamp or a tag for pets with the new address.
-Snacks to eat while unpacking (via here).
-Gift certificate to a restaurant or coffee house where they’ll be moving, like this one if they happen to be moving to San Francisco (also via here).
row 3:
-Homemade instant soup mix other ready-to-go meal to get them started before their kitchen is unpacked (also via here).
-A very handy screw driver.
row 4:
-A kit of everything they might forget to leave out and will need at their new home (like these): hand soap, can opener, light bulbs, batteries, pizza coupons, a few basic cleaning supplies
row 5:
-Stationary, with the first envelope addressed and stamped to you.
-Seeds or a plant for putting down roots in their new place (photo of seed tape via here).

more, banner

I’ve thrown together a new gift guides page, incase you’re like me and like to see as many ideas as possible in one glance.


fathers-day-gift-hanger-kids-can-makeLately my husband has been on a house purging mission. In fact, he got a little carried away last weekend and was day dreaming about moving into a house so cheap we could afford to store next-to-nothing, just buy and donate as our needs dictated. I think we all get that itch every now and then.

So in the spirit of cutting down on “stuff,” we decided on a Father’s Day surprise using stuff we already have. I went to his closet and picked out a hanger, and the kids and I got to work. I’m thinking this project will become an annual tradition. I’ve always imagined a closet full of beautiful, natural wood hangers. We’ll work up to it one at a time.

fathers-day-gift-diyThe project was just a simple decoupage on the hanger.
personalized-fathers-day-gift The kids and I brainstormed about how we’d like to personalize the hanger. We decided on writing down the kids’ favorite memories with dad over the year. We talked about the year and looked through pictures until each child had come up with a list. It was a nice little exercise.

cheap-fathers-day-giftI measured the hanger and printed a cover for each side. The kids made drawings for the flip side of the hanger, then helped me sand the hanger surfaces and wipe them down to prepare for decoupage. Finally I added a layer of modge podge and smoothed on our paper. I’d planned to sand the corners where the paper meets the wood, but the border was nice enough that I just skipped that step. Now all that’s left is to present it next Sunday. I’m working on the last two Father’s Day DIYs to get to you early next week!


I had to add just a few more. Graduation is so exciting and daunting all at once, there are just so many fun possibilities of ways to give the grad a boost.

graduation-gift-scented-highlighters1Scented highlighters, complete with refills. So annotating can be fun!

graduation-gift-guide21. A 6-cup muffin mold. Give with your favorite muffin mix.
2. A pedometer. These things are great. When I used mine I was obsessed with getting 10k steps a day, and that’s a good thing.
3. Pigeon light. Good company for late night reading.
4. Laundry crunch can. Also great as a group gift, lots of room for everyone to sign a good luck message.
5. Naked Economics. I promise it’s about the economics and not about the naked. A great little book for getting a grip on how the whole system works.
6. The sandwich press. My husband lived off of his in college. Grilled cheese on weeknights, spinach pizza pockets on a really special occasion.
7. These solar powered desk lamps come from IKEA, and don’t even require an outlet, for only $20. How does IKEA do it?
8. Hand weights. So you can read, lift, and maybe even scarf down lunch all at once.


A few of my favorite thoughtful things to give a grad, either alone or with a gift card.
graduation-gift-vacuum-bottle-thermosThe Zojirushi Tuff Slim Vacuum Bottle. This little wonder keeps liquids hot or cold for 24 hours. And all the reviews here back up that claim. I can’t help but love the systematic approach some of these true outdoorsman take to testing their vacuum bottle.

moustache-mirror1The Mustachio Mirror. Also available in antlers, pirate, and other delightful varieties.


1. A Book of Courtesy: The Art of Living with Yourself and Others (since that is just what a grad is likely to do). I happen to own and love this book.
2. Havaianas. Buttery soft and straight from Brazil, where people know how to do flip flops. Great for frisbee on the quad or dorm showers.
3. The built market tote. Just may hold all the groceries your grad can afford for a week.
4. Earthlust stainless steel bottles, so so pretty .
5. REI’s first aid kit.
6. Thermoses from plastica. Give them with soup mix.
7. Hestia ironing board cover, so if the ironing board gets left out, it adds to the new decor.
8. Monster bowl sets. Won’t break, and likely won’t get mixed up with your roommates’ flatware.

more Visit AmberLee’s Graduation Gift Guide for more gift ideas.

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The day we moved into our house we had no kitchen. Just a big empty room where cabinets and appliances should be. We had some generous new friends stop by with dinners, but one of my favorite gifts was a loaf of banana bread. It was the snack for the day and breakfast the next, and my kids liked it. So banana bread has become a favorite moving day gift I give. But check out this fun little twist Style Me Pretty posted this week: banana bread in terra cotta pots! Very housewarm-ie.


I like to give my housewarming quick breads with a set of these babies:


They’re called Monkey Hooks. They do the job of drywall anchors only with no tools and no giant holes through your drywall. I hung my antique mirror in my hallway all by myself in under two minutes, no tools. Very cool.